The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.
Kai Carlson-Wee was born and raised on the Minnesota prairie. His poems have appeared in Many Mountains Moving, Linebreak, Forklift Ohio, and Best New Poets 2010. He currently lives in San Francisco, California, where he is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
When people ask what do you do, you tell them... ?
Well, I try not to say I'm a poet. I try to avoid it. I say I'm a skater. Or I say I'm a teacher. Or that I spend my time looking out windows at trees. You know, it's funny, but this question actually makes me very nervous. I mean, I've been writing seriously since I was 19 years old, and I'm 30 years old now, so that's 11 years of writing, but it's only been the last year-and-a-half that I've actually been able to call myself a writer. I don't know why this is. I mean, what makes it so painful for a poet to admit that they spend their days looking at trees? Saying you're a poet has all these romantic connotations, you know, and every time I tell someone I'm a writer I see this film-roll of judgment start playing itself out in their brains. They think you're a poser. A self-ordained dandy. One of those faux intellectual hipsters who hangs around coffee shops quoting from Blake -- "To see the world in a grain of sand" -- that sort of thing. I don't know, perhaps it's a symptom of a larger disease. More »